Transport workers and industry groups are in Canberra this week calling for urgent action on Federal Government commitments to establish a standard-setting body in transport as this year’s truck crash death toll exceeds 100.
The TWU has warned a FedEx proposal to strip newly engaged owner drivers of rights like sick leave and superannuation, and pay gig-style piece rates at just $2.50 would lead to more people killed on our roads.
Last year thousands of transport workers across major trucking companies including FedEx were forced to take strike action over attacks on their job security, winning protections like caps on outsourcing which this proposal dangerously undermines.
Transport workers and industry groups in Canberra this week will meet politicians to call for immediate support for an independent body to set minimum standards and end the Amazon Effect of cost-cutting and unfair competition smashing transport supply chains.
On Saturday, a convoy of truck drivers, couriers, distribution workers and gig workers will drive to Canberra, joined by convoys in Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.
FedEx’s plan to bring in an underclass of drivers akin to exploitative Amazon Flex will demand drivers using their own vans and fuel deliver an astronomical 93 parcels to customers’ homes in a 10-hour shift – roughly one delivery every six minutes without breaks.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said Australia’s deadliest industry would become even more dangerous if FedEx were to go ahead with the proposal.
“This disgraceful attempt by FedEx to force drivers to deliver a parcel every six minutes is a deadly proposition.
“This year alone, over 100 people have died in truck crashes, including 26 truck drivers. Cost-cutting from wealthy retailers, manufacturers and oil companies at the top of supply chains and competition from exploitative Amazon Flex is ramping up pressure on transport workers to drive fatigued and cut corners on safety.
“Appallingly, FedEx is trying to weasel its way out of the job security commitments it made to workers last year who were forced to take days of protected industrial action to secure their jobs, pay and conditions. FedEx is now pulling the rug out from under their feet.
“As if slashing pay and conditions is not enough, what FedEx is proposing strips workers of rights like collective bargaining, cost recovery, sick leave and superannuation and adds the deadly threat that if drivers don’t work fast enough, they could lose their job.
“Transport is spiralling. The time is now for the Federal Government to act on its commitment to an independent standard-setting body, before other major transport companies are forced to slash pay and conditions in an attempt to stay in the game.
“We’re here in Canberra to work with the Albanese Government and crossbenchers to get this life-saving trucking reform off the ground quickly and with the support and input of industry experts.”